Passion Play

Members of USF Racing use their love of car racing and engineering skills to produce a winner.


Video: Dani Barta | USF News

By Dani Barta

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (July 30, 2012) – Many students experience group projects and team building exercises while attending their college classes, but very few have a working car as their final product.


USF Racing is a student organization at the University of South Florida that brings together people with a passion for both cars and racing. As a part of USF Racing, members design new racing vehicles and work both within the group and in the community to make them a reality.


At the end of each year, USF Racing members get to show off their final product by traveling across North America to participate in multiple competitions.


“My favorite (aspect) would probably be meeting the other teams at the competitions. It’s really neat to see other people kinda going through the same struggles as you,” said Sam Steele, engine lead of USF Racing. “The other thing is actually seeing the car come from an idea into something that can be driven around and really push the limits.”


Most recently, USF Racing finished ninth place overall at the Formula SAE Lincoln at the Lincoln Air Park in Nebraska. This is the first time that USF Racing has finished in the top 10 at a Formula SAE event.


“It feels like we’re actually getting rewarded for what we’re doing, in a sense, and that we’re on the right page as far as going where we’re supposed to be going,” said Steele.


USF Racing is more than just a passion for cars. The work that goes into each vehicle is strenuous and time consuming but it gives the members, who are mainly engineering students, the opportunity to put the theory they learn in class to good use.


“It’s very hard to get 20 people with different backgrounds (and) with different things going on in their lives to put in a lot of hours,” said Simon Restrepo, president of USF Racing. “We’re not getting paid for this. We’re not getting class credit. And the rewards are not instantaneous.”


When asked if USF Racing is worth all of the work and struggles, Restrepo doesn’t miss a beat. “It is way worth it.”


As for what’s next for USF Racing?


“Go faster,” Steele said.


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